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Becoming Ultra

Becoming Ultra is all about that first Ultra. We follow other runners training for their first Ultra, interview race directors of Ultra's, talk training tips, and just about anything for that next, very long, step.
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Becoming Ultra
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Now displaying: Category: My First Ultra
Nov 29, 2022

Andrea Casella Kooiman is an avid runner with over 150 marathon and ultra-marathons under her belt. Some of her accomplishments include the Boston Marathon, Grand Slam of Ultra-running (4 oldest trail 100’s in one summer), Badwater 135 three times, Western States twice, HURT 100, UTMB, Vol State 500K, taking 3rd place overall. Andrea is also one of the founders of WeRock, a program created as a response to the challenges faced by the Orange County communities’ young people. It is an educational, after-school, intervention program for Middle and High School students focused on the endurance sport of running. She is also the executive director and head coach; she considers some of her greatest running accomplishments watching as the kids cross the marathon finish line year after year. It is her solid belief that everyone can and will achieve all their wildest goals and aspirations if they can first visualize themselves in that position. She is on a mission to HUG the world and assist others in becoming their own Superheroes.

Start asking yourself why not me. This is a question Andrea always asks herself and she has accomplished some amazing things. We loved talking to her about her adventures, coaching her kids and life in general. This woman is full of joy, optimism, and fun. We talked about the Barkley Fall Classic and moving on to attempt the Barkley Marathons (watch for her name). Andrea lights up when discussing WeRock, she talks about how it started and what she has gained from coaching. We also get into some great Badwater stories and how she balances everything from family life to the big races. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

IG- @runcoachkrun

 

Nov 22, 2022

Gary Cantrell also known as Laz Lake is the creator and race director of two of the hardest ultramarathons in the world, the Barkley Marathons and the Big Dog Backyard Ultra. He also created the Barkley Fall Classic, Strolling Jim 40, the Vol-state 500k, and the epic virtual team event, the Circumpolar Race Around the World. Gary is also a husband to Sandra who he met in college and a father to three grown children. Before retiring in 2011, he was an accountant for 35 years.

Well, this was a whole lot of fun! In this episode we chat to Laz about the early ultra-running days, the inspiration for all his unique races, and his trans-continental walk across the US. Laz has some great Barkley Marathon stories to share. You are sure to learn a few things about the Barkley’s you may not have known. We learn what Laz has planned next, the current Barkley theme, and how to get a Geezer hat. This one is full of great stories, encouragement, and lots more. Gary Cantrell aka Laz Lake is truly a legend in the Ultra-running world. We had the best time meeting him. Enjoy!

Nov 18, 2022

Fresh off of completing an epic 100 miler in an amazing way, Scott joins us to recap the experience!  When Scott decides to do something, it is never simple or easy and this is no different!  We talk all about Band of Runners, the news season of Becoming Ultra, and the upcoming BU events across the globe!

 

https://www.bandofrunners.org/

www.becomingultra.com 

Nov 15, 2022

Demarion & Carlita Farmer are married with two young children ages 2 & 4, they also own a small business. Recently they started training for and ran their first ultra in 2021. This is a story of inspiration on so many levels.

Couple goals! These two are conquering all kinds of goals and supporting each other 100%. This was a fun, enlightening, and inspiring conversation. Demarion & Carlita could have so many excuses to not train and work hard towards their goals, but they do not focus on excuses. They have learned the value in believing in themselves and helping each other. On this episode we talk about what prompted them to get into ultra-running and how they balance the training with a young family. We also discuss diversity in ultra-running and the impact they have made on their local community. There is lots of good stuff in this one. We could have talked to this awesome couple for hours. There is nothing better for us than starting our day with lots of laughs and some great conversation.

Nov 8, 2022

Lucja Leonard is a Dutch-born Aussie-Brit currently residing in the USA. Wife to Dion Leonard, and Fur-mama to Gobi and Lara, check out 'Finding Gobi' the NY Times bestselling book for more details on that side of her life. 

Lucja is an ultra-runner but has not always been one! After becoming overweight in her early 20's Lucja took up running to become a healthier, fitter version of herself and after running her first road marathon, Amsterdam in 2010, she discovered a love of going long and went on to run the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon; a 6 stage, 7-day self-sufficient multistage ultra-marathon through the Kalahari desert in northern South Africa where she fell in love with ultra-running. 

Lucja has since gone on to run a multitude of multistage and single stage ultras with the likes of Marathon Des Sables, Leadville 100, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, Mohican 100 and even 200+miles non-stop with Bigfoot200 and Moab 240. Most recently she tackled the TransRockies Race, a multistage ultra in Colorado with her friend, Amanda, running as a pair with 120miles and 20,000ft over 6 days as 'Team Granny Pants' where they duo came third open female team.

Lucja is also a running and health coach and can be found traveling all over the USA, exploring the most amazing places while working alongside her husband Dion, and his book 'Finding Gobi' with inspirational talks at corporate events, schools, libraries and running stores.

Amanda Asher is a single mother of 3 teenagers (son 17 and twin daughters 15) and 2nd grade elementary school teacher who started ultra-running in 2016 when she tackled her first 50k in Huntsville, Tx – Rocky 50. Since that time, she has taken on dozens of races across Texas, ranging anywhere from 13 milers to 100k’s. Shortly after completing her first 50k, Amanda ran her first mountain race in 2016 when she took on the Pikes Peak Ascent, followed by the Leadville Trail marathon in 2017. Most recently Amanda competed in her first team relay alongside her daughters as they raced the clock during a 12-hour relay at Spider Mountain in Texas. The 3 of them along with one additional teammate – placed 1st female team. Amanda used this race in May as a training run for her most recent endeavor that took place in Colorado – the Transrockies Stage Race – Amanda, alongside her teammate Lucja Leonard, managed to take the podium 4 out of the 6 days. Placing 3rd overall for the week. When Amanda is not busy raising her 3 teenagers or working on lesson plans for her second graders, she can be found solo backpacking all over the U.S., completing various sections of the CDT, John Muir Trail, AT, and hundreds of miles of loop trails, within Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. 

It is always a fun time when Lucja is involved. We loved this conversation with Lucja and her adventure buddy, Amanda. These ladies tell us all about tackling the Transrockies stage race together and how they came up with their team’s name, Granny Panties, it is a great story!  Amanda talks about finding balance with adventuring, raising three kids and work. When you hear her talk about it you will think it is possible for you too. Lucja shares her latest adventures and what she has coming up. These ladies are big supporters of each other and other women. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!

Nov 1, 2022

Pamela Chapman is a 66-year-old ultra-runner, cancer survivor, nurse anesthetist and inspirational speaker. At the age of 19 she was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. When she outlived the diagnosis, she was told she would never be able to have children. She gave birth to three daughters and raised them as a single mother. After her children finished college and began lives of their own, Pam looked for things to fill her time. She rode a Harley on the weekends, became a licensed sailboat captain, learned to surf in Costa Rica, then ran a 100-mile race. Pam never ran in a foot race of any distance before the age of 55; not even a 5k. Her first race ever was the 100-mile Rocky Racoon Ultra in 2011. Since then, Pam has completed in over 68 ultra-marathons including, Badwater 135 five times. She holds USA records in her age group for 24 hours, 48 hours, 100 miles, and 100k, in the 2019 Six Days in The Dome 24 hour race she came in 1st female and 2nd overall.

Pam is a true legend! This talk was so empowering and positive.  Pam discusses the many challenges she has had during her life.  She has overcome them with a strong faith and the ability to always be grateful. Her story is truly amazing. We chat about how her running career began. We also discuss taking on those big races including the Badwater 135 five times. Pam is also a champion for women, she is determined to prove that age should not define what you can do. When I think of a strong woman role model it is Pamela Chapman that comes to mind.

Oct 25, 2022

Jennifer was never an athletic kid, always picked last at PE, made fun of for her weight, struggled with body image and eating disorders in high school through grad school eventually gained a lot of weight in college, decided to start running her junior year and gradually worked up to her first 5k two years later, then ran her first marathon a few years after that.  She ran on and off for the next 10 years and trained for her first ultra-distance. After having her son, she jumped back into running, but found out she had a torn labrum in her left hip, had surgery followed by a  long rehab, eventually she switched to trails and ran more ultras including a 50 miler.

 

Jennifer’s transition into photography began when she met her friend Kristy through a FB group, started pacing her at Ornery Mule Racing events and  took cell phone pics of her while at races. The RD would frequently repost her pics  and eventually offered to hire her to photograph some races. Jennifer gradually took over photographing all of their races as well as some in other states. Health issues have prevented Jennifer from training for her own races, so this is a way for her to stay involved in the community.

Jennifer has the most amazing attitude and the way she deals with setbacks is inspiring.  We talk about Jennifer’s ultra-marathons and the Barkley Fall Classic. We discuss her many injuries and how she always reinvents herself to stay involved in a community she loves.  Jennifer’s transition into photographing races is a great story. “It’s never too late to go for a big dream – don’t be the obstacle”.

Jennifer is also a contributor to Silent Sports Magazine and Ultra Runner Magazine.

@luoyunghwa

Oct 18, 2022

Colleen Rue is a 2x Ironman finisher, Ultra-marathoner, marathon maniac and an endurance fanatic. She is a wife and mother of two teenagers and has 20+ years’ experience as a coach, personal trainer, and instructor in the fitness industry. Known as the Voice of the Mountain at 29029 Everesting events, she has been all over the US as a host, emcee, and race announcer. Colleen has an ability to connect people with brands and events in a way that fosters personal growth and develops bonds for life.

Be brave and do not be afraid of no.  Wise words from Colleen, and words that have served her well.  This was such a fun conversation for us.  Colleen is so genuine and open; we could have continued this conversation for hours.  Colleen shares her journey to becoming the voice of the mountain for 29029 Everesting events and the voice of Vacation races.  We also talk running ultras and Trans Rockies and so much more.  Colleen has several ultras under her belt and lots of great stories.  We know you will enjoy Colleen as much as we did!

IG: @colleenrue 

      @voiceofthemountain

FB: @colleenrue

Web: raceannouncing.com

Oct 11, 2022

Rebecca Roehm never dreamed that she would be running for the fun of it. Growing up in Ohio, she played basketball and tennis and always considered running as a punishment. In 2016, the only open treadmill at the gym jump started her foray into running. With the help of a friend and a new pair of running shoes, Rebecca signed up for her first 5k. Less than 18 months later, Rebecca found herself as one of the featured runners on Season 4 of Becoming Ultra where she completed the Minnesota Voyageur 50 miler.

The experience of the Becoming Ultra project has led Rebecca to continually challenge herself. One of the lessons she took away from the experience was that it is important to do hard things. When asked why she runs ultras she responds, “If you aren’t challenging yourself, you aren’t growing as a person.” Some of her notable races include the New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Zion 50k, Bandera 100k, the Javelina Jundred 100 miler, and most recently the Last Annual Vol State 500k. 

When Rebecca is not working or running, she is traveling with her husband, volunteering, and co-leading the local Portland Oregon chapter of Trail Sisters. One of her passions is increasing the participation of women in sports, especially trail running. She hopes that her experiences as an athlete can inspire others to try something new and do hard things.

We had a lot of fun talking to our friend, Rebecca.  This lady is one of the most supportive people we have ever met. She embodies everything the Becoming Ultra community stands for.  Rebecca takes us from her first Ultra, a 50 miler to most recently the Vol State 500k and everything in between. She talks about chasing cutoffs and not getting discouraged by finishing DFL or even a DNF.  She is wise enough to know there is value in every experience.  Listening to Rebecca will inspire you to do something big!

Oct 4, 2022

Caitlin grew up in Oakland, CA and now lives in San Francisco, CA with her boyfriend, Daniel after going to college in the Midwest. She grew up playing soccer, then rugby, then discovered Australian Rules Football after graduating from college in 2015. She made the national Australian Rules Football team in 2019 and was going to compete in Australia in 2020 in the International Cup, but then COVID shut the world down.  The outdoors have always been a huge part of Caitlin’s life. Her parent’s first took her backpacking when she was 3 years old and did numerous trips in the Sierra Nevada’s that Caitlin eventually came to love (although at first, she thought her parents were torturing her and depriving her of a normal childhood). She discovered distance running in 2014 when she was training to hike across Spain but didn’t have the time to go on longer hikes so resorted to running. In 2016, she came to the realization that you can not only hike on trails, but you can also run on them! She ran her first trail marathon in 2017 and applied to Becoming Ultra at the end of 2021 right after she had foot surgery for a foot injury that had sidelined her from running for a year and a half. Since then, she’s re-fallen in love with trail running and has found amazing communities though Becoming Ultra and Trail Sisters. She’s run two 50Ks, an “ultra” Ragnar, and has her first 50-mile race in Oregon in early July. 

Ever wonder where exposing your children to the great outdoors can lead?  Caitlin grew up with parents who exposed her to lots of camping, hiking, and backpacking in amazing places.  It is so fun to hear her talk about her adventures throughout her life, which includes a very special hike with her Dad.  Caitlin shares her experience with training for her first ultra and the disappointment of dealing with an injury.  We also discuss her first 50-mile race at Mt. Hood (that she crushed by the way).  This is a fun, feel good episode.  I will leave you with one of Caitlin’s favorite quotes that I cannot stop thinking about.  “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”. 

Sep 27, 2022

Cale came to running as he signed up for his first sprint triathlon in 2011. He hated running and only ran when it involved team sports. It took several years to enjoy running as he often worked only on speed and trying to be faster. This often resulted in nagging injuries that curtailed his running. This cycle repeated itself until becoming selected for season 11 of Becoming Ultra. Learning the reasons behind different types of runs was critical. It allowed him to keep running and build up strength and stamina. He is a father of two boys Colin age 17 and Ian 15. Cale and Meghan will be celebrating 20 years of marriage on July 6th, 2022. Being able to share their long runs together is a big part of their relationship and helps them get out and enjoy Central Oregon and all its beautiful surroundings. Cale is passionate about developing leaders outside of running. He has two companies that he runs-Crestcom which is a leadership development franchise and B2B Transportation which is a full-service freight brokerage. He has coached youth basketball since 2011 and loves the game. 

Meghan picked up running when her kids were young. She would put them in the jogger, give them their snacks and drinks and hit the road! She has always been active and often attended group fitness classes prior to picking up running. She is an amazing wife and mother to two boys aged 15 and 17. She has a magnet on her fridge that she lives by."I create peacefullness in my mind, and my body reflects this peacefullness as perfect health." She enjoys cooking and helping her family lead a healthy lifestyle. She has been a nurse her whole life and currently works in ICU . She applied to Season 9 of Becoming Ultra and was not selected. It turned out to be a great thing because Cale and her both applied to Season 11 and were selected to run their first Ultra at Desert Rats 50k in April of this year. She finished her first Ultra in just over 7 hours. She loved it so much she signed up for season 12's event to cheer and support them in their journey to complete their first Ultra. She recently set a PR in a road half of 1:51:47 and beat Cale who also PRed at 1:53:46. She is sneaky fast when she wants to be. She will tell you she is not competitive but every now and then it comes out and she starts taking souls out on the course!

Meghan and Cale recently completed R2R and are looking at when they will do R2R2R or R3. They are signed up for Jacks 50K race in Florida and look forward to supporting season 12 runners on their inaugural 50k.

We had such a great time catching up with our friends Cale and Meghan.  They are another awesome couple we met through the Becoming Ultra Community who share the love of trail running together.  We talk about their ultra-journey and the impact it has had on both their family life and careers. Cale talks about how his job stress was the catalyst for a life change.  I was personally so inspired by this.  Cale and Meghan have a very supportive relationship.  Hearing them talk about how they balance everything will make you feel empowered. Meghan also shares how she keeps peacefulness in her life.  This one will leave you feeling encouraged and motivated.

Sep 20, 2022

Gina Lucrezi is a professional ultra-trail runner and the founder of the Trail Sisters Community and on line journal. She is a huge advocate for promoting women’s trail running and outdoor activity. She loves sharing her thoughts and experiences through words and photographs. Gina holds the women’s FKT on Mt. Whitney’s standard route, is a USATF Trail 10k Champion, 2012 Team USA 1st place world long distance champion, and 2x winner of the Leadville Silver Rush 50 miler and a 5th place finish at CCC 100k.

A true champion for gender equality in the sport of ultrarunning.  Gina has a great spirit and is fulfilling her mission to increase women’s participation and opportunity in trail running and hiking through inspiration, education, and empowerment.  We covered so much on this one.  Listen to Gina share about the Trail Sisters Community from the start and how it has impacted her life.  We also talk about Gina’s rich running history and current 100-mile goals.  There is a lot to unpack in this one.  I will leave you with some words of encouragement from Gina written after our podcast. Take a bet on yourself!


Yesterday I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the lovely ladies of My First Ultra podcast (it was a blast!). One of their final questions was, "What special message would you like to share with listeners?" This is usually a toughie...as multiple things come to mind, and I'm a talker :)

I decided to speak about the practice of building confidence, and remembering to take a bet on yourself. Like anything else we do in life, practice makes perfect. We repeat a process, learning what works (and doesn't), and fine tune it. Building one's confidence takes that same repetition and fine tuning! Every day, focus on one action that reminds and strengthens your belief in yourself. This does not have to be running related...just something you enjoy and can demonstrate your capabilities.

A daily practice of positive reinforcement will build that "I Can!" attitude, and sets you on a path for stronger confidence in whatever may come your way!

IG - @ginalucrezi

trailsisters.net

Sep 13, 2022

We want to inspire you today with someone special. When most people hear the name Mickey Maurer it is related to business or writing because he has had much success with both.  But today we are going to talk about adventure, giving, and happiness, areas where he has also had much success.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mickey over the last 17 years.  We may have bonded over being persuaded to represent our age brackets at the Corporate Challenge in the running events over the years. Mickey is one of the most positive, giving, and energetic people I know.  Mickey Maurer’s career as an attorney, author and entrepreneur has included cable television, film production, radio broadcasting, publishing, real estate, and banking. Mickey is an active participant in numerous business, civic, educational, and philanthropic organizations.  In 2001, Mickey established Mickey’s Camp, a charitable endeavor that has raised over $3 million  for central Indiana charities. Recently he traveled to Poland to help with the Ukrainian refugees. Some of Mickey’s hobbies include mountain climbing, having successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, skiing, and underwater photography. At 80 years old he doesn’t seem to be sitting idle. 

What a fun conversation we had with Mickey. Mickey is a person that is always learning and using his skills and knowledge to help others.  On this podcast we talk about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu twice.  We had a heartfelt conversation about his recent trip to Poland to help with the Ukrainian refugees.  This was my favorite part of the podcast. According to Mickey one of the keys to happiness is to stay curious.  There is definitely some inspiration and wisdom here.  Stay curious friends!

Sep 6, 2022

Dreama Walton is an experienced mountain athlete with hundreds of miles spent in the Alps, multiple ultra-marathons in the desert landscapes of the Canary Islands, and day to day training in the upper altitudes of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, she is well aware of the kind of innate desire and commitment it takes to be an endurance athlete. She knows what an important role diet before, during, and after training and competition play in overall wellbeing. She has experienced firsthand the limitations placed on her with poor hydration, using ill designed equipment, and a lack of a level head when things don’t go as planned. She has accepted that running during bad weather is her way of paying dues for running during the good days. Running on no sleep rewards her by letting her see pieces of this planet that most people will only have the opportunity to see on the discovery channel. Pushing her body and mind allows her to see what the human animal is capable of when she reaches the end of a challenging race. The elation she feels when the race is done is the reward for hours, days, and weeks of training. This is why she loves ultra-running so much. It allows you to see that the only limits we have as humans we place on ourselves. Dreama is also a mother to an amazing little girl and loves showing her that we can do difficult things and that if she wants something bad enough, she too can put in the work to achieve it.  

On this podcast Dreama talks about some of the struggles she has faced in her life and how they shaped her strong work ethic as a runner and in life.  We also discuss balancing being a single parent and chasing big goals.  Dreama is a very strong mountain climber so of course we had to talk nutrition. We felt so inspired after talking to Dreama.  She has found a nice balance and figured out how to keep the focus on happiness and love.  We are excited to follow along with her summer adventures!

 

IG- @dreamawalton

Aug 30, 2022

Hannah Allgood is originally from Wisconsin but has lived in Colorado Springs since 2016 with her husband Gil and vizsla, Gunner. She works as a pediatric sports medicine physical therapist at Children's Hospital Colorado and began trail running in 2019 because of Gil. That same year she ran her first 50k, The Dirty Thirty. Hannah enjoyed the 50k-100k distances the most, but is looking forward to eventually running a 100 miler. She holds the course records for the Fall Back Blast 50k, Indian Creek Fifties 55k, and Gorge Waterfalls 100k. When she is not running, she enjoys hiking with her dog, baking desserts, and reading. The thing she loves most about trail running is being outside for long hours with her friends. 

This was a fun conversation; Hannah is full of positivity and energy.  We discuss how she has evolved as a trail runner since her first race in 2019.  We also talk about self-doubt and importance of believing in yourself. We dive into the impact coaching has had on her, both mentally and in running. We chat about the importance of strength training.  Hannah takes us through her recent Gorge Waterfalls 100k win.  Hannah is one to watch, she has some big things coming up.  I loved this quote from her “later becomes never” she definitely embraces that.

IG - @shesallgood21

 

Aug 23, 2022

Alexa Hasman lives in Portland, Oregon and is a mom to two small humans, ages 5 and 7. She owns a coaching business called Fit Life which she opened in 2014. She likes to make each of her clients feel special and empowered as they work towards their goals. She also owns a race company with her business partner, Zina. They purchased it a year and a half ago and just kicked off their second season of races. The company is called Gorgeous Relay Series and they do one day relays in the most beautiful parts of Oregon. They can also be run as ultras, as a single person team and that is something Alexa is most passionate about growing for this business. Alexa is currently finishing her dual masters in exercise science and sports psychology and will then be pursuing her PhD in sports psychology. In her free time, she is a passionate ultrarunner with a love for the longer and more mountainous races.

Did you ever meet someone that felt so familiar?  That is how we felt when talking to Alexa.  We had a great conversation about how she is using her coaching business and race company to empower women.  You feel her passion for this when she speaks.  Alexa is also a busy mom of two young children.  It is always interesting to hear how inspiring women balance priorities.  We also discuss her recent 100 miler and the community she has embraced and is working to build.  We recorded this one on a Friday morning.  It was the best way to kick off the weekend! 

IG - @alexahasman
Owner/Coach: @fitliferunlife
Owner/Race Director: @gorgeousrelayseries
•ultrarunner •vegan athlete •mom
Aug 16, 2022

Christy has been playing sports since she was a young girl and carried her love for Soccer into high school where she played Varsity and was captain her senior year. She absolutely hated running and can remember barely finishing the one mile run during try-outs. Fast forward a few years, Christy continued playing on co-ed leagues, and stayed semi active, but soon after she married her husband, got pregnant with her first daughter, Emma, and two years later, had her second daughter Carleigh. After her second daughter, she started to run more to get back into shape, and when she was finally hitting her groove, BAM, she found out she was pregnant with baby number 3. Baby 3 would be the turning point of her entire life, where she soon found out at 20 weeks that her son, Alex, had Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) and would later pass away at 24 weeks pregnant. After losing Alex, Christy created a social media page called All For Alex where she set a goal to run 100 miles in July to honor his short life. This page allowed the community and even people from around the world to join in with this July goal and friends, families and strangers were flooding the page with running pictures in July in honor of Alex.  Since that day, Christy hasn't slowed down...well actually she did when she got pregnant again in September with identical twin boys who were born that following May. 

Lauren first started running in 2015 after a tragic house fire. She was living in an apartment where she found the apartment gym one day and would run to relieve the stress. When the stress or anxiety would consume her, she started to hit the pavement and never looked back. Lauren continued running throughout the years, finished her first half marathon,  and even while pregnant with her daughter in 2021, continued to run and stay active . Christy and Lauren have always been super close, but when Christy moved on the same street as Lauren, they started to chat more about crazy challenges which one would always convince the other to do. 

They have both ran at least one race a month for over two years, completed the 24-hour Yeti ultra-challenge, and they just completed their first 12 hour ultra this past August. 

We had a blast hanging out with Christy and Lauren.  We discuss their super fun Instagram.  They talk about how it keeps them motivated and accountable.  We also talk about balancing family, work and staying healthy.  They have some great advice for those of us trying to find balance.  Their support of each other is really special.  They are very different runners but always work together to achieve big goals and keep each other going.  We love these stories of support.  Enjoy!

 

IG- BecomingUltraMoms

Aug 9, 2022

Angela Tortorice lined up for her first marathon in support of her former husband, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997. Since then, she has taken part in 999 marathons across North America and all 50 U.S. states. Through this journey, she has raised over $170,000 for MS. On April 2, 2022 she finished her 1,000th marathon at the Irving Marathon in Irving, Texas making her the youngest woman to complete 1,000 marathons, at the age of 54 years old. She also holds the record for most marathons run in a calendar year but a woman (129).

Most people have running one marathon on their bucket list.  Running 1,000 seems unimaginable to most people but Angela is not like most people.  On this podcast she talks about why the marathons and raising money for Multiple Sclerosis is so important to her.  We also talk about how she has managed her life to achieve this huge accomplishment.  She also shares some mental tricks that have come in handy over the last 25 years. Angela is proof that if you are committed and passionate about something you can accomplish big things.  

 

www.rtdtexas.com

Aug 2, 2022

Hey friends, we are back for another season!  Catch up with us after our month off and let's chat about some upcoming guests!

Jun 28, 2022

Zoe is a Colorado based writer and trail runner. Southern storyteller turned mountain dweller, she starts every day with a cup of strong coffee and a good story. Her work has appeared on NPR, in REI Co-op Journal, Discover, Rock & Ice, Trail runner, Backpacker, and Threshold Podcast. Zoe merges her passion for storytelling with her love of trail running in her work as an editor at Trail Runner magazine. She currently hosts and produces the DNF podcast from Trail Runner magazine. Her trail running accomplishments include 1st place at the Crested Butte 100k, Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon and two consecutive wins at the War Eagle 50k. Her running and coaching are powered by the belief that with smart, efficient training and enough self-belief earth is 97% runnable. 

I can’t think of anyone else who finds as much joy in running as Zoe.  Her motto is pay attention to the things that make you feel joyful and run towards them.  We had so much fun talking with Zoe. We talk about how she juggles running, writing, and podcasting and stays present.  Zoe tells us why she always knew she would be a writer. We talk about how she found her way to running and the parallels between running and writing.  Zoe in Greek means full of life, and we think it describes her perfectly.

IG- @carrot_flowers_z

https://www.trailrunnermag.com/collection/the-trail-runner-podcast

Jun 21, 2022

Jameelah Abdul-Rahim Mujaahid is a Georgia super-woman, she is a single mom of 6, works a full-time job and runs Ultra marathons.  It is common for Jameelah to drive several hours to a race, run 100 miles, jump in her car for the long drive home and go to work the next day.  Jameela has always been athletic and excelled at the 100 meters to 400 meters. In her adulthood she became fascinated with the longer distances, she would go out and make herself run as far as she could, this began her obsession with running the long distances. Always looking for more Jameelah has accomplished some big goals from 100k and 100 miles to multi-day races up to 314 miles.  Jameelah does not believe in quitting! 

We are going to call this one the no excuses episode.  After listening to Jameelah you will be inspired to think of reasons to succeed instead of excuses to quit.  Jameelah shares so much with us including the moment that changed her life. We also discuss ultra-running and motherhood and how she has managed to do it all and remain devoted to her family.  Giving is very important to Jameelah, she talks about how she is giving back to the community and encouraging minorities to get involved in running. Jameelah believes 100% that if you are here, it is not impossible. 

IG- @hotlotsofkids

Jun 14, 2022

Shawn Goertz is a 49-year-old recovering addict and cancer survivor.  After a 20-year addiction he has been sober since 2007.  On any given Thursday in the spring and fall you can find Shawn and his girlfriend, Andrea marking the trails of Three Creeks Conservation Area near Columbia, Missouri for that evening’s trail run.  Trail running has been a lifesaver for him.  To his local community, Shawn is an inspiration. His kindness, understanding, motivation, and ability to bring people together has helped many find their love of the trails. Shawn supports others in their efforts and has improved the lives of those around him.   Shawn currently lives in Missouri with his dog Opie and spends time hitting the trails with his ultra-runner girlfriend, Andrea.

This was such an open, honest conversation about the struggles of addiction and much more.  Shawn’s story is one of hope and giving back.  We talk about how he made his way from prison to trail running. We also talk about how giving back to the trail running community has impacted Shawn’s life.  He shares the struggles of dealing with injuries and slowing down on the trails. Shawn shares the touching story of his emotional Lake Tahoe Ultra where he spread his Mother’s ashes, it was a full circle moment for him.  I wrote down many things he said but one thing I can’t stop thinking about is “we can only keep what we have by giving it away”.  We will be cheering Shawn on in everything he does. I think you will be too!

Jun 7, 2022

What a ride!  50 episodes!!  We are so thankful for each and every guest we have had on the show and their willingness to share their stories.  We are also incredibly grateful for our listeners!  We love doing this gig...so thank you!  This episode is a summary of all the incredible words of encouragment our guests have left us with.  Enjoy!

May 31, 2022

Jessie Gladish was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.  She considers herself lucky to have parents who took her and her sister camping, hiking, skiing, and taught them that being outside is possible in any weather and in the dark. After high school she moved to British Columbia to attempt post-secondary school and ended up working and traveling more than going to classes. She has since worked hard and earned a diploma in Adventure Guiding in 2012, and in 2021 finished a science degree in earth and environmental science with a focus on geology. Jessie has been running off and on since 2006. Jesse has now completed the Moab 240 twice; the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 300-mile race; winter ultras; desert ultras; 430 miles on skis; 300-mile Iditarod Trail; 120 mile fat bike race; 233 miles in the Yukon Ultra on her bike and many other races. Jessie currently lives a life of adventure with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

Jessie is not your typical adventurer; she is whole other level.  There is a quiet unassuming confidence about her that comes through.  On this episode you may just get lost in her story telling like we did.  We talked a lot about her experiences taking on the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra.  We discuss how her childhood impacted her life of adventure.  We also talk about the mental toughness it takes to accomplish such hard goals.  There are also some good wildlife encounter stories on this episode.  We are really hoping Jessie writes a book.  We will be the first to buy it!  I know you will enjoy this one and find a lot of inspiration from Jessie.

Here is one of Jessie's race reports!  Enjoy!

2015 Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra Race Report By: Jessie Thomson-Gladish

February 23rd, 2015: Over the past two weeks, I trudged at a speed of 3.5-4.5 km/hr, pulling a 65lb pulk loaded with all my winter survival and camping essentials, food and water.  This steady pace for 12 and a half days propelled me from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon Quest sled dog trail. The MYAU is a single-stage, multi-day race with four distances: a traditional 26 mile marathon, 100 miles, 300 miles, and the 430 mile. Participants choose one of 3 modes of transport: on foot, on cross-country skis, or on a fat tire snow bike. Each one has advantages and disadvantages, depending on the temperature, snow fall, terrain and mechanical issues.

Why?

I chose to attempt the 430 mile, on foot. Everyone wants to know why. Why do the race at all? Why on foot? Why not try the 100 mile first before jumping into the big distance? I wanted to try the YAU because it took me home to the Yukon, it followed the iconic Yukon Quest sled dog trail (a big part of Yukon gold rush history), it offered solitude, and it offered a major personal challenge which I felt I could achieve deep down but the potential for anything to go wrong was there – any mistake could lead to having to scratch from the race. Why on foot, well, I felt it was the simplest mode. Shoes are simple. Skis can break, waxing can be difficult, ski boots can be cold and hard to warm up in; mountain bikes can break down and are expensive to buy. I felt the benefit of coasting down hills on skis or a bike didn’t quite outweigh the idea of walking the trail, although now having completed the distance I would like to try it on skis one year. The two guys from Sweden on their skis seemed to fly by me every day, after having sufficient rest at each checkpoint. I would travel later every night, they would be sleeping when I arrived, and sleeping when I left at 4 or 5am, only to fly by me again later in the morning or afternoon. Why the 430 mile? Well, I didn’t want to arrive at 100 miles, or 300 miles, and feel good and wish I could keep going but have to stop. I figured if I had to scratch at any point I would be happy with the distance I did make, but I wanted that Dawson City destination in my head, just in case I could put one foot in front of the other for the whole way.

1- Start Day

I feel like I could write pages and pages about the race, so I will! There are so many elements to it. The temperature was my biggest concern. We started at -30C in Shipyards Park and the first night at Rivendale Farms Checkpoint 1 on the Takhini River was reported down to -48C. Very cold night. Many people were not prepared for the low temps and when they attempted to camp/bivvy that first night found they were too cold to sleep and too tired to walk. I’m not sure how many racers scratched that first night, it seemed like half the field. The next day was cold too, around -30C all day. I managed to spend the night in my tent, however, I couldn’t pack it up in the morning – I was too cold. I wondered if I was cut out for this and could hardly imagine another 12 days like the first one. Instead of stuffing my tent I just laid it in my sled to deal with it later when I had more body heat. I had never experienced packing up in this kind of cold before, even with growing up in the Yukon. Most normal humans do not go out in these temps and if they do it’s for a short time with a cozy wood stove blazing for their return home. I spent a long time on this first night in my tent, about 10 hours, assessing my abilities and desire to go on. At 5am I was finally moving again, waiting for daylight and some feeling of safety and comfort from the sun so I could mentally recover from the reality of the extreme cold.

2 - Day Two

The next checkpoint would be Dog Grave Lake, which was a long 33 mile (53 km) day. I wore my down jacket with fur-lined hood all day without breaking a sweat. Constantly trying to keep my hands and feet warm and monitoring for frostbite, keeping my face as covered as possible. Luckily it was a beautiful clear day, which makes the cold more bearable. Mountains to the south, snow crystals shining. The man I was walking with that day, Helmut, stopped to take photos more often than I hoped as it slowed us down quite a bit. Eventually, I left him behind as I pushed on to Dog Grave Lake CP, only to find it way farther than I had expected (or it just felt like that). Traveling in the dark (dark by 630pm at this point), alone, through winding low-land alder and willow growth, then up up up a huge climb seemed endless and unfair, until finally reaching the remote CP around 1030pm. The small wall tent was packed with sleeping bodies, and I found out from the volunteers most of them were scratching and waiting for a snowmobile ride out the next day. There was no room for me to sleep in the wall tent, so I set up my sleeping bag on some straw dog beds left over from the mushers who passed through days earlier and slept fairly well in the -41C night. I didn’t set up my tent and instead just slept in my bag with my dads old army bag liner over top – much easier than dealing with tent poles.

3 - Day Three

I woke early and left by 530am, walking by the half-moon light and enjoyed myself, knowing the sun would come up in a few hours and Braeburn CP was my next stop, though not for many miles (35 miles) and hours. Braeburn was the first chance to sleep inside, dry my stuff out, eat a massive burger and let it sink in that I’d traveled 100 miles up to that point. This was the finish line for many, but not even a quarter of the way to Dawson for the 430 mile race!

4 - Day Four

From Braeburn to Ken Lake that fourth day was a beautiful one, although the longest day, at 45 miles, 74.5 km, it was a long haul. Chains of lakes with winding trail through the forests between. A flat day. I enjoyed catching up with Julie Pritchard, who had left Braeburn not long before me. We traveled together in silence and then chatted during our snack breaks. Before the sun set Oliver caught up with us, a 35 year old English doctor, and I ended up leaving the two of them behind to pick up my pace to Ken Lake CP. This was a long night for me, the lakes went on and on, and seemed to go uphill in the darkness. The forests between weren’t as much fun as they were in the daylight and the CP seemed to be farther away than I’d hoped (a recurring phenomenon throughout the race..that last 10 km before each CP was unbelievably long). I’d left Braeburn at 5am and arrived at Ken Lake by 11pm. Ken Lake checkpoint is at a small fishing & hunting cabin with a wall tent set up for athletes to have a meal in. There is no indoor sleeping. I quickly set up my sleeping bag (no tent again), using my pulk to sleep against so I didn’t roll down the sloped ground, changed my shoes and put my glorious down booties on. The small wall tent was warm, and I could dry my shoes and a few things out. I wolfed down the moose chili and a couple buns provided by the CP then hit the bag.

5 - Day Five

I ended up sleeping in until 630am, far later than I wanted! I bolted up, packed up quickly in the cold and filled my thermoses with hot water from the hard-working volunteers and got started on the trail. I was headed for Carmacks, a long 35 miles away.

More lakes to start with, and then the trail wound through a beautiful burned forest, and along the edge of the Yukon River. It felt good to see the Yukon River again. I caught up with Oliver and Tim and traveled with them most of the day. We were all tired and ended up snacking, breaking a lot, and walking painfully slow. We were close to Carmacks around 830/9pm, but still 4 km out when the snowmobile guys, Glenn and Ross, showed up and informed us we were cutting it close for arriving in Carmacks in time to make the 4.5 day cut-off time. We had no idea! We all thought it was the next morning. This kicked us into a gear I didn’t know I had in me, and we literally ran 4 km to Carmacks, pulks flying behind us up small hills, down, and along the river all the way towards the lights of the tiny village. It was not fun, but once we made it in time had a good laugh about how close we were to being pulled out of the race for what would have been a silly mistake.

Carmacks was a great place to be. The recreation center graciously gave us space inside, even for our pulks. So, it was a nice treat to dry everything out, reorganize the pulk, leave some gear behind that was too heavy and not being used, pick up the food drop bag and resupply the snacks. I ended up staying up until midnight as everything takes so long to do. I was able to talk on the phone and even check some emails. It was at this point I was realizing just how many friends and family were following my progress (via SPOTtracker online). I was overwhelmed by the support and love I felt, and it gave me extra energy and motivation.

6 - Day Six

Carmacks to McCabe Creek, 38 miles..another great day, a solitary one, I saw almost no one. The Swedish guys passed me, and we exchanged a few words and the usual smiles and then they were flying away on their skis. The snowmobiles came by once, the comforting fatherly face of Glenn always brightened up my day or night. But other than that, I had a solo day all the way. The sunny, shimmery, winter wonderland day turned into a dark tunnel at night, as usual. This was the worst night of the race for me mentally and physically. It felt endless..endless trail in endless dark. The trail seemed to wind in circles in the forest and at one point I thought I saw a red glow of fire in the distance, but it must’ve been imagined because it took another couple hours, a mental breakdown, and acceptance of reality, before I finally stumbled back onto the river and across it to the CP. It was 10pm. McCabe Creek. Finally. I slept on the floor beside other racers in the shed provided by a local Yukoner’s home. It was hot in the shed, but to let my body rest after such a long day on my feet was such a relief. I ate vegetables which tasted unbelievable. Rice and fish with the veggies then chicken, and then bread and peanut butter with something sweet for dessert.

My body felt broken after this many days on my feet and very little rest – joints screamed, and my bones ached as I lay on the floor in my sleeping bag. It really felt like all the stress and fear of the cold had cumulated in my body and were now being released. It was also the turning point in the race for pain. I felt like if I woke up and was still in this much pain I’d have to quit, but what happened instead was I woke up feeling better than I had since the start. My body figured out what we were doing and suddenly felt stronger day by day from then on, instead of breaking down.

7 - Day Seven

I left early, again. I was walking by 4 or 430am. I’d discovered my prime rest time was between 11pm and 4am, using some darkness to rest but getting away early enough to wait hours for the sunrise and maximize my daylight travel. The Swedish guys were still sleeping, of course, I would see them later on for sure. Today was a 6 mile long powerline walk near the highway towards Minto, then through low lying willow & alder land, along some lakes then eventually finding Pelly Crossing, 28 miles away, on the bank of the Pelly River. A shorter mileage day – but not a piece of cake by any means. I encountered overflow during the low laying land and had to put my snowshoes on to spread out my weight, use my poles to prod for harder ice sections that might not break through, and hope that my pulk didn’t tip over into the puddle of water. I made it through high and dry, but the thought of getting wet feet in this cold environment got my heart racing.

Pelly Crossing arrival in the daylight! That was my goal for the day, it felt great to roll in at 5pm, finally I had gotten somewhere at a ‘decent’ hour. Glenn took me over to the store to buy apples and new snack food, which was all I was thinking about all day! In the rec center I sorted and dried my gear, repacked my sled, visited with volunteers and racers (Oliver and Tim were there, both having scratched due to recurring injuries..back pain and shin splints). I also made a phone call to my Dad and stepmom Denise, who’d been quite anxious and worried up to this point on how I was doing. They were relieved to hear my voice and that I sounded confident and happy, and I think starting to realize I may just make it to Dawson if I kept doing what I was doing. My Dad said if I kept going he would be in Dawson for the finish, and this unexpected news made me so happy; knowing he’d be at the end consumed much of my thoughts for the next 6 days on the trail. After my phone calls and organizing I wolfed down bison stew and went to sleep amongst the other snoring bodies.

8 - Day Eight

3am wake up..bison stew for breakfast..then I was off on the Pelly River for 16 km which was absolutely beautiful in the starry morning and eventual sunrise. The rest of the day was on a road into Pelly Farms (33-mile day) on the longest, most beautiful driveway I’ve ever seen. I was near tears a few times because of the beauty. It was a special day and I travelled alone again all day – I hadn’t been on pace with anyone really at all yet and had spent more time than I ever had on my own in the wilderness. Arriving at the farm at 530pm as the sun was setting felt like a great end to the day. It got even better though once I realized I had arrived to heaven on earth. Pelly Farm is at the end of the Pelly River, just before it hits the Yukon River near Fort Selkirk. Dale and his wife run the farm, they have cows, chickens, pigs, and some beautiful collie dogs running around. Their house is tiny and cluttered, full of life with a real Yukon character; it was warm and inviting. Their generosity knew no bounds – we invaded their home, slept in their bunk beds, dried out gear, drank coffee and tea and used their tiny bathroom. The dinner they provided was a bread loaf pan of lasagna. Probably 2lbs of food. Apparently, it was a mix of bear and beef meat, and man did it taste good. I ate every ounce of it, plus a kit kat bar, and various chocolates and cookies and muffins kicking around. I slept like a log even with Jorn snoring on the bottom bunk, but only for a few hours.

Julie and I woke up at 230am, ate pancakes and amazing farm fresh eggs, packed up and were on the move by 4am. Julie had shown up at the farm the night before, much to my surprise. She’d fallen behind before McCabe Creek due to getting sick and losing a full day of travel time. It was a hard decision, but she decided to scratch from the race. She had been taken to Pelly Crossing, and after some rest and a chat with the RD she decided to take a snowmobile ride to Pelly Farm to catch up with me to see if I wanted to finish the race together. She would be an unofficial racer without a finish ranking, but I think this just shows her true spirit – Julie was there for the trail and experience, not a medal or status. I was more than happy to spend the next few days, the most remote days of the race, together. We’d become a team.

9 - Day Nine

Pelly Farms to Scroggie Creek CP is 65 miles. This meant we’d be camping out overnight somewhere in between the checkpoints. With really great information from Dale at the farm, we traveled about 50 km or so through the gorgeous burned forests and overflow sections, then up a 6 km hill climb and found a place to set up a bivvy beside the trail. We melted some water for our thermoses for the next day, ate a quick freeze-dried meal, and went right to sleep. We meant to wake up early, like 3am, but ended up sleeping in as I didn’t hear my watch alarm buried in my sleeping bag. We slept til 645, and I bolted awake and we quickly packed up and were moving by 730. This meant we were later into Scroggie Creek than we wanted to be, but I suppose we needed the sleep too. We followed a valley all the way, so much of it was flat. A nice “7.5km to go” message was written in the snow by Mark Hines, keeper of Scroggie Creek CP this year, and a 3-time MYAU 430 finisher and professional ultra-athlete. It was so great to meet him, as I’d read his book last summer – a couple times – in preparation for the race and Julie is a good friend of his. We ate dinner and visited in the small cabin. This place is remote and Mark was here for the whole duration of the Yukon Quest and the MYAU (checkpoint manager for the dogs/mushers who started a day before us, plus our race..he was there for about two weeks straight). The only way in is by snowmobile and it’s a long ride out either to Dawson or back to Pelly Farm. The dinner was chicken stew for me, and Mark made Julie a curry dish to make up for the last time he made it for her. I guess he mistook the cayenne for paprika and make it far too hot to the point of being inedible! Julie said this curry was just perfect.

10 - Day Ten

We left Scroggie at 4am. 99 miles to Dawson City from here. 99 miles!! I’d been dreaming of the moment I could say that, especially since I’d made up a song called “99 Miles to Dawson” in preparation for this moment. We were on the Stewart River for a short time, then eventually wound through the forest and into mining territory. We passed cats and bulldozers, haul trucks and sluicers. Great white mounds of snow-covered tailing piles as well.

That day we had the Black Hills/Eureka Dome climb ahead of us. It was a switchback road that took us from about 400m elevation up to almost 1200m. 2.5 hrs later we were sweaty on the top due to warm temps and spent the next few hours gently rolling along the ridge top, with a few surprisingly big hills to climb still. Also up here were many large wolf tracks. If I’d been alone my imagination may have wandered more to terrible scenarios that were unlikely to really happen, but in the company of another we were glad to find the tracks as evidence of animals moving about around us. Before we descended from the hills, we decided to set up a bivvy to get a couple hours sleep. It was already 930pm and Indian Creek CP was still a few hours away.

11 - Day Eleven

We slept until 3am then quietly awoke and packed up our tents to continue on our way. By this point in the race, actually ever since Carmacks, the temperature had risen, it was now much more comfortable traveling. The nights were lows of -12C ish, and daytime highs were even up to -2C. It felt warm. Indian Creek CP was reached just as daylight was breaking. We had Gerard’s amazing coffee, a pot of ichiban noodles, and a nice visit with his rather chubby rotweiller named Celise. Diane (medic) and Yann (photographer) were also hanging out there at the wall tent, so Julie and I had a tough time getting on our way! Coffee and socializing, plus some chocolate treats were enough to keep us there for a couple hours. But we had walking to do. And so, we continued. Our next big obstacle was King Soloman’s Dome, another hefty climb up to 1100m after losing a bunch of elevation the day before. So up we went, starting the climb that night around 7pm. We made it to the first switchback and decided to sleep for a couple hours before the final push to Dawson up and over the Dome, and all the way ‘downhill’ to Dawson on the other side. The night sky was great, bright stars, crisp night, maybe -15C or so, a slight breeze made it feel colder but we were protected by trees. We had boiled water and eaten our freeze-dried meal of choice by 11pm, crawled into our sleeping bags, and apparently, I was snoring within a minute of laying down. The northern lights were the last thing we saw before sleep, they were just coming out to dance as we slept.

12 - Day Twelve

At 2am we packed up. The sky was clouded over, no stars, and a layer of fog to travel through in the middle of the night made our headlamp light difficult to see through. The physical summit of the Dome was anticlimactic, as we still had some uphill grinds to do along the mountaintop, but we did take a photo for Jorn, who had scratched before Scroggie Creek and gave us treats to continue on with, and said we “had to make it to Dawson, for him, and for everyone”. He gave us gummie bear packages and we took our photo holding onto the bright packages in the darkness. I then ate all them at once.

We didn’t have daylight until we were well off the Dome and onto the downhill road descent on Bonanza Creek Road. We ran a little bit, maybe a 6-7 km/hr jog, when we could. Two more sections of overflow to cross as well, just when we thought we’d put it behind us! The snowmobile guides caught up with us at some point, Gary said we were doing great and to just keep going. We knew Bernhard was ahead of us, and Shawn behind. With Dawson in our sights we passed Claim 33, a splash of color, finally after the black and white past couple days, and then past Dredge #4. Joanne and Lucy came out to meet us with hot chocolate. Music was playing from their vehicle to pump us up for the final 13 km. But it ain’t over til it’s over, and in true MYAU form the last 10 km was tough! It was mid-afternoon and we knew we’d arrive in daylight, but it made it no easier or faster. We still plugged along, wondering when the hell we’d see the city and that finish line.

We had a visit with a local man and his Pomeranian fluff ball, then had to skirt past a barking black dog guarding the street. Finally we could see the bridge over the Klondike River and the path which would lead us into town. Walking the riverfront trail into Dawson City felt like coming home, kids playing and sledding, people going about their daily business, probably wondering what we were doing, or not caring at all. I could see the visitors center, which was the finish line and a small crowd of people gathered. My Dad and Denise were standing there just before the finish, relieved to see me looking fine after all that way and all the worrying. Finish line hugs and photos and congrats were a mix of emotions – I was so happy to be done, but also a little sad it was over.

Post-Race Thoughts

There are so many moments that happen in almost 700km of walking. Ups and downs, daylight, nighttime, sunrise, sunset, worrying, wondering, being amazed at scenery, eating and drinking, resting and walking, sleeping minimally, reorganizing, packing/unpacking. Things happen slow, but now that it’s over it feels surreal and fast. 12.5 days of walking. I had thought I’d have some kind of great epiphany, some life revelations, some ingenious moment. Instead, I spent hours worrying about battery life, headlamp quality, how much water I had, my dwindling snack bag, sore hips, then sore heels, then a sore quad muscle, cold hands, layer on layer off, gloves on gloves off. Too hot too cold. Where is the checkpoint, how far have I gone, how fast am I going, how many hours can I sleep tonight? My mind was consumed by the present, which really is the beauty of survival at its simplest. Eat, sleep, water, shelter, keep moving. I loved it all, and even the moments I was alone in the dark and cold I felt in control and ready for anything.

March 15, 2015

It’s been 5 weeks since the start of the MYAU. Recovery has been easier than I thought it would be, but what isn’t easy is realizing it’s all over. The past year of thinking about the ultra, preparing for it, organizing my gear, buying more and more, training with my pulk and having it take up more mental space than I imagined it would has left a void I wasn’t ready for. I want to be back on the trail where life is simple. Move forward, eat, sleep. I miss the sound of my footsteps and the scrape of my pulk on the snow, and the pull of my harness on my hips. I miss the volunteers and the racers, the animal tracks, the snow. I even miss my small headlamp beam in the dark. I plan to do the YAU again in 2017 and that seems too far away.

My official result:

4th place out of 5 finishers on foot for the 430 mile. (19 people at the start line)

1st female in, and the only “official” female finisher of 2015.

2nd woman ever to finish, 1st Canadian woman to complete the 430.

Official time: 293 hours 25 minutes (12.5 days)

Thanks for taking an interest in my write up, and I hope it inspires you to challenge yourself in whatever way you want to.

Links:

http://yannbb.com/ (professional photographer, also on Instagram @_y_a_n_n_b_b_  )

http://www.arcticultra.de/en/event/results/results-2015 (MYAU website and results)

May 24, 2022
Dr. Terrie Wurzbacher is a 73-year-old retired Navy captain who served on active duty for 30 years, she is also an author.  After retirement she continued to pursue her love of metaphysics, starting the business Getting Unstuck, LLC.   Terrie absolutely hated running until 1993 when she tore her ACL playing softball.  Six months after surgery she needed to see if she could run so she could play softball soon.  She was 40 years old, fat, a smoker and disgusted with herself.  She tried to run until she could get to the end of the block without stopping, by the time she made it she was hooked. A year later she was doing marathons. Due to some medical conditions Terrie took a long break from running.  In 2014 she attempted Vol-State, making it 100 miles.  Then completing it in 2015, 2018 and 2021. Terrie continues to conquer long distances and is currently working on a book about Vol State and it being a metaphor for life and hope. 

Terrie is full of wisdom and strength.  I don’t think I have ever met anyone with more mental toughness.  Terrie is also a person who is passionate about helping people and uses her knowledge to do just that, from honoring veterans, mentoring, to educating people about chronic pain.  We talk about her 300-mile Vol State races and how they have impacted her life.  I love the mental techniques she uses to keep pushing on.  We also talk about pain and the impact it has on people.  This is a subject Terrie is very educated in.  Terrie also shares the keys to aging happy.  We really enjoyed chatting with Terrie and feel grateful for the chance to learn a few things from her.  

https://terriewurzbacher.com/about-dr-wurzbacher/

https://www.facebook.com/terriestrek 

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